By Ricardo Alarcón
On the afternoon of March 23rd, the same day he marked 78 years of an exemplary life, Leonard Weinglass’s heart stopped beating.
He’d suffered a terrible illness that since January had brought him to a critical and especially painful phase of his life, yet he never stopped working for even a moment. During the last months of his life, as he struggled heroically against illness and physical pain, he dedicated himself body and soul to the preparation and presentation of a Habeas Corpus appeal for Gerardo Hernández Nordelo and for Antonio Guerrero, without stopping to work on the appeals for the rest of the Five.
Just before entering the hospital where he would undergo an urgent operation, he put the final touches on the appeals for Gerardo and Antonio and turned the rest over to other colleagues who were to do the same while he was in recovery. Only then did he agree to take care of himself.
And that’s how he always was. While still a very young man, he joined a firm that, under the direction of Victor Rabinowitz and Leonard Boudin, waged countless battles on behalf of the unions, civil liberties and justice in the United States. With his brilliant defense in 1968 of the Chicago Eight, Lenny began an uninterrupted and admirable career that included the cases of Jane Fonda, Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Angela Davis, Mumia Abu Jamal, Amy Carter, Kathy Boudin and many others, up to and including the Five Cuban anti-terrorist fighters, and his most recent collaboration with the defense attorneys for Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. The story of the struggles of the North American people cannot be written without the name of Leonard Weinglass being highlighted on each page.
Now and forever, our homage and gratitude go with him.
The loss of Lenny is a difficult blow for Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René. He was their best and most tireless defender, someone who dedicated all his energy and talent to their cause, and struggled for them until the end, amidst his own suffering and agony, until his last breath.
The struggle for the liberation of our comrades must continue, in conditions that are now even more difficult than before, without Lenny. We renew our commitment to move forward until we achieve freedom for all of them. Let’s do it ceaselessly, without resting. It’s the least that we could do for the tireless fighter, the selfless and lucid combatant who was always our dear comrade, Leonard Weinglass.